Simone Post – Beyond the surface
Interview by Viveka van de Vliet
The experimental, researching, open minded and questioning designer prefers to collaborate with companies. She allows them to look differently at their production processes and finds successful solutions for those who are at the beginning of a social change.
The theme of Broken Nature and how designers can help restore the balance between nature and man, immediately summons up a memory at Simone Post that deals with what is for her the essence of design. When she was about eight years old and was camping with her family in France, she noticed how beautiful and ingenious the bottom of the initially fuzzy-looking cow-parsley looked like. Wondering whether other people had seen the bottom, she wanted to show it to everyone. Probably a recognizable given, which accurately reflects how you as a designer should look at everything: beyond the surface.
The textile, print and product designer applies her amazement, perceptive and curiosity in her practice. Her designs are about experimentation and material research and arise from a fascination for how things are made. ‘I look around me and beyond what you see on the surface in society,’ says Post. ‘I want to know how things are made, how they look at the front and the backside. By showing what is nicely made in my opinion, and therefore also has a figuratively beautiful back, I want to make people aware.
Not only consumers but of course also companies. ‘I notice things as a product designer. As an outsider in a company I have a fresh perspective, I can more easily ask why they always do something like that. Can it be done differently or better? ‘, askes Post. She always manages to get an industry with her ideas and solutions so that they can look at their production processes differently and discover new possibilities. ‘And that’s the interesting thing about working with companies. A change has a big impact,’ she says. That’s how it went with Vlisco and her successful project Post-Vlisco. The research for the Belgian recycling manufacturer of household waste, Eco-OH !, and the new colaboration with Adidas will undoubtedly also have social influence.
Post Vlisco was her own initiative. Simone Post did an internship at Vlisco as a print designer, when she noticed the enormous amounts of residual materials. She asked what the textile producer did with the waste. A sensitive subject; almost everything was destroyed because they want no poor quality on the market, and because competitors could possibly copy the prints. Post convinced Vlisco that with such beautiful fabrics you can also produce something else: a carpet for the interior market. The creative director then gave her all the confidence, freedom and a truck full of textile waste. ‘It is not interesting if you can make something unique with just a waste bin. If you want to answer a waste problem, it needs to be tackled in a big way and in a long-term partnership ‘, says Post. For example, her colorful Post Vlisco carpets were included in the collection of LABEL/BREED that had two machines made for fabricating the carpets. The designer is now researching what she could do with the smaller pieces of fabric in West Africa for the Vlisco Group. It will therefore need to be a product that can be made in West Africa and provides employment there.
Partly because Simone Post is well known by her Post-Vlisco project, companies come to her too. Like Eco-OH! that asked her to carry out a follow-up study. And from the Adidas headquarters the question came whether she wanted to think about a new application for their waste material. Post wanted to make a product of the residual material that the company has the most. From the shredded old shoes that the company takes back via its own collection campaign, Post developed the first prototype to be presented at the end of April. An exciting project in one of the most polluting sectors: the textile industry. With hopefully the result that her carpets will be situated in the shops and offices of Adidas worldwide. ‘The nice thing about this type of assignment is that it’s about large companies who think about how they can produce differently. As a designer, I try to go along with the development of companies that are at the beginning of a social change. Together we put steps forward that make the front and the back more beautiful.’
Thanks to Connecting the Dots
Portrait by Boudewijn Bollmann